Australian stocks led an early drop in Asia, but other markets were mixed as the day went on and as trading began across Europe. Futures markets signaled brighter prospects for Wall Street, too.
The rise came after the S&P 500 index fell 2.93 percent on Wednesday, spurred by glum economic news from Germany and another reminder from China that its huge growth engine is slowing.
In the United States, bond markets have begun to hint that a recession there could come soon. The grueling trade battle between China and the United States, the world’s two biggest economies, continues to dampen growth prospects as well.
“There were a handful of catalysts adding to the markets’ roller-coaster ride, including continuing civil unrest in Hong Kong and escalating fears that trade relations with China are becoming even more derailed,” said Tom Stringfellow, chief investment officer at Frost Investment Advisors, in an emailed note.
Hong Kong residents have been protesting China’s growing involvement in the semiautonomous territory. In recent days, violence has led Chinese state media to make thinly veiled threats about military intervention.
Late on Wednesday, President Trump suggested that the fate of the trade war and Beijing’s response to the Hong Kong protests could be linked. “Of course China wants to make a deal,” he wrote on Twitter. “Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!”
The tenor from many economists has grown more pessimistic as the trade war has escalated. Last week, global currency markets were shaken after Chinese officials raised the specter of a currency war with the United States in response to a new tariff threat from the Trump administration.
“Markets are reacting on the fear that the additional threats of more tariffs by the Trump administration will result in a slower-growing global economy,” said Steve Cochrane, the chief Asia Pacific economist at Moody’s. “The risk of recession in the U.S. is not overstated,” he said.
Goldman Sachs last week flagged concerns about the United States economy after Mr. Trump threatened to put 10 percent tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. Goldman said the threat added to fears of a recession.
Earlier this week, Trump administration officials clarified which tariffs they would increase on Sept. 1, leaving certain Chinese goods off the list until December, like laptops, cellphones and toys.
Asian markets ended mixed, as some clawed back losses from earlier in the day.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 1.2. The S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia, one of the first markets to begin trading on Thursday, fell 2.85 percent.
But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.7 percent late in its trading day. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi index rose 0.7 percent.
London’s FTSE 100 index opened 0.2 percent lower. But in France, the CAC 40 index was up 0.1 percent. Germany’s DAX index opened flat.
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